A Pennsylvania man today admitted his role in a bank fraud conspiracy that targeted over 12 financial institutions in southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania.
Ayanniyi Alayande, 47, of Darby, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
According to U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger, Alayande was part of a multi-defendant, Nigerian-based, multi-layered criminal organization that engaged in a massive bank fraud conspiracy in several states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Rhode Island, between June 2016 and March 2020.
Members of the group acquired numerous business checks that were stolen from the United States mail, altered the payee on the checks to a fraudulent name and deposited the checks into bank accounts that had been opened with forged foreign passport documents and fraudulent U.S. visas that matched the names on the stolen checks.
Once the banks credited all or a portion of the funds to the accounts – but before the checks had cleared – the defendants withdrew the funds from ATMs or purchased money orders, using debit cards associated with the fraudulent accounts.
Members of the organization used over 400 fraudulent accounts opened with fake identity documents to defraud the victim banks.
To date, the total loss to the victim banks is approximately $6 million.
Alayande today admitted his role in the conspiracy, which included using false identities to make several deposits to and withdrawals from the fraudulent accounts.
As part of his plea, Alayande agreed to forfeit his interest in approximately $90,000 worth of money orders, which were proceeds of the bank fraud and which were seized from a public storage facility in Philadelphia used by the conspirators to store additional fraudulent identity documents and proceeds of the bank fraud.
The bank fraud conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million. Sentencing is scheduled for May 12, 2022.
Charges against 11 other defendants remain pending.